So this is a primer for a deck that I’ve been working on for more than a year.
The deck originally was called 5-toes: thopter token top tutor toolbox, but the banning of sensei's divining top has cut one toe off. It still hurts
I’ve always been a kitchen table magic player and because I didn’t have any understanding of formats we played using our own rules and old cards we owned.
A bit later I tried the online magic platform untap.in and started playing against the world. Because I use older cards, I had no other choice than to play legacy and at first I lost 80% of the games. That’s no fun for someone with a competitive attitude.
Next timeline stop was the unbanning of thopter sword (sword of the meek and thopter foundry) in modern. Suddenly a bulb appeared above my head. Why not buy them and sell them with a profit. You see. The European market is always 1 day later then the American market. The price shift wasn’t visible on MKM so I jumped into it. 3 thopter foundry and 2 Sword of the meek purchased. I’M RICH!!!
The thoptersword combo explained: thopter foundry and Sword of the meek are a match made in heaven. Two 2-cmc cards that can become brutal in a short time. You sac the sword to the foundry to create a 1/1 thopter. The sword then returns from the GY and gets attached to the thopter. You gain 1 life and can do it again for the cost of 1 mana. So 4 mana is 4 1/1 thopters and 4 life.
So I’m sitting there with some good cards i.m.o. and some minor understanding of the legacy format. Let’s brew.
Googly-eyes => thopter sword combo legacy
So yes… it’s in the same color combination as Miracles. Hmz...
was the miracle build. Miracles wants to win with counterbalance, sensei's divining top,terminus, entreat the angels and counterspells. The advantage of thoptersword on Entreat the angels is: thopters dying is not an issue. They come back every turn + they gain life. I optimized the deck list after each game if necessary.
Enlightened tutor became a 4 of because it grabs every piece of the combo and opens up the possibility of a toolbox. The idea of the golden bullet entered the deck. Toolbox cards are explained later in this article.
Second build (after top-ban)
I started researching enlightened tutor and got familiar with the parfait deck.
It uses the land tax/scroll rack engine to gain card advantage.
Some cards that work really well with land tax are: Daze and Mox diamond.
Some of the better opening hands were:
Turn 1: play Tundra, play Land tax pass
Turn 2: Whatever they play => respond with Daze=> profit from card advantage!
Turn 1: Mox diamond, Land tax pass
The land tax package is fun but loses in speed. The turn it gets important in legacy (turn 2) you get the engine rolling so TO SLOW.
So this is v2.X of my deck:
Tips from an experienced player: go Jace or be Squace.
I don’t understand what being Squace means but I wanted to give it a shot.
So this is the last version of the deck where every card has been balanced, weighed and proven worthy:
Lands (23 of them)
- 3 Tundra: Don’t play 4. You only need 3. I try to play these as few as possible. I have Back 2 basics (B2B) in sideboard, they’re not wasteland proof, blood moon hurts them.
- 1 Karakas: Only 1 because I only got room for one. This land bounces Marit, Emrakul, Thalia, … You will love it vs. Show and tell, D&T and lands. There is also no downside. Comes into play untapped and produces white mana.
- 4 flooded strand: We play WU so we really need this land. It can fetch in response to… everything. I go for the basic lands more often than duals to be safe from wasteland.
- 3 Polluted delta: We need more fetches then 4 so this is in. You take an island or a tundra with it, if you need the white.
- 1 and 1 Ancient den & Seat of the synod: Artifact lands have 2 upsides in this deck. They can be sacked to thopter foundry in case of emergency and they can be tutored when there’s mana shortage.
- 4 and 4 Island & Plains: If you only play 2 colors, play basics. As said before, wasteland proof, back to basics proof, blood moon proof.
- 1 Academy ruins: This is a key card. You can activate the card in response to GY hate. Abrupt decay destroys your foundry, use your mana to create as many thopters as you want; then in upkeep put the foundry back on top. Batterskull likes to be on top too. He’s a real cutie.
- 1 Wasteland: I’ve put 1 in here because 2 is the maximum of non-colored lands you can spare. Sometimes you are really happy to draw this, sometimes it’s a dead card. But hitting Karakas, Cradle, thespian’s stage or dark depths feels good
- 3 Thopter foundry & 1 Sword of the meek: This is the main win condition of the deck. I’ve tried with 2 swords but there really isn’t any advantage. The sword can come back from the graveyard at instant speed if they try to remove it (best keep 1 mana open for that). If these cards stay in play for 2 turns it’s usually game. Keep saccing the sword at the end of their turn and if you are scared for graveyard removal, keep 1 mana open. You get an army of thopters that can attack next turn or block Marrit lage and other cuties. If I get to 7 mana I can even survive Emrakul attacks. People who counter sword of the meek are just stupid, because I really don’t care if it’s in play or in the graveyard. Thopter foundry can sac artifacts or itself, in response to removal for the cost of 1. The life gaining is relevant versus agro decks.
- 3 Stoneforge mystic: Really interesting card in this deck. People hate playing against her because she gets batterskull in game on turn 3 at instant speed. That’s why she usually is the target for fatal push or other removal. Tbh I really like if they waste a bolt on her. When she’s played I got 2 choices. Go for the batterskull plan of find my Sword of the meek (she counts as enlightened tutor 5-7). Once I have my Sword of the meek in hand, it’s ok if it gets discarded, countered, played or put into play using Sfm. Stoneforge mystic also helps to make up for card disadvantage caused by enlightened tutor. You will never be sad to find her in your opening hand.
- 1 Snapcaster mage: this is a 1 off card that can be used as blocker or surprise the enemy when u recast a spell pierce, swords to plowshares, brainstorm or enlightened tutor. Sometimes you just need to block that gurmag angler 1 time for the game.
- 1 Azorius signet: sometimes I fetch this with my enlightened tutor if they try to deny mana. The good thing about this is: people don’t counter it, and if they do it’s a wasted counter. This can be sacked to thopter foundry ICE.
- 1 Batterskull: an all-star in this deck. Life gain, early blocks, can come back to hand, but the most important => as humility is in play (this can't be cheated in, but) when hardcasted the germ becomes a 1/1 creature with the equipment attached to it. You got a 5/5 lifelink vigilance facing some little 1/1 minions. Always remember: the germ is king in the land of humility.
- 1 Umezawa’s jitte: an old time favorite card. People who have played against it, know what it can do. Now imagine a creature with a jitte after humility is played. Every counter kills 1 creature. That includes hexproof, protection from everything or indestructible.
- 3 Terminus : most brutal removal in legacy. Put it on top using brainstorm, jace or scrollrack, and look at game bending board wipes. Almost all creatures in my deck are in there for their ETB ability, so board wipes are fine for them. They like the bottom of my library. It’s warm there. If my thopters get destroyed. Next turn their brothers come to aid.
- 1 & 1 Council’s judgment – Detention sphere: both 1 off because both have advantages and disadvantages. Council’s judgment is a stronger card because it can target un-targetable permanents, and be played again with snappy if necessary. Detention sphere on the other hand, can be searched with enlightened tutor, hits multiples (tokens) and is a blast to put into play when they play ‘show and tell’.
- 2 Swords to plowshares: Just in case I need it. Turn 1 exile delver or DRS is never bad to slow decks down.
- 2 Jace, the mind sculptor: the card that defines legacy i.m.o. Certainly the best card advantage engine. If not handled, can win you the game. A free brainstorm each turn is incredible (terminus on top). Only use the 1st ability if you are already winning is a good tip. Ultimate for game win.
- 4 Enlightened tutor: key to the toolbox. In the toolbox we can search for every enchantment or artifact in this deck (this includes lands). Play it at the end of turn preferably when they’re tapped out. Find whatever bugs them most, put it on top and play it next turn. If they counter it, you always got a chance of drawing what you were going to search anyway, so no biggie. Hymn to tourach, inquisition or other discard spells can’t target cards on top of your library, convenient.
- 4 Brainstorm: Brainstorm at the right time to put stuff from your hand on top and dig down 3. Do it after a hand reveal, before a discard action, after a fetch,… u know the drill.
- 3 Spell pierce: So why 3 spell pierces, no FoW’s and no spell snares? Enlightened tutor is a good card but causes card disadvantage. If you use FoW that’s double card loss, so no love for it. Spell pierce targets non creature spells. I normally don’t have a lot of problems with creatures (terminus, humility, thopter army) so I only focus my countering on non-creature spells. It costs 1 so with 1 mana open at end of turn u have choices: pierce, swords, tutor or brainstorm. These choices win or lose you a game.
THE TOOLBOX (7 + 12 in sideboard)
- Detention sphere: was discussed above
- Engineered explosives: Token destroyer on 0 + all kind of moxen. Put it on 1 to scare elves, DRS, delvers and red mofo’s. Can be played at 0 as backup sac fodder for thopter foundry.
- Pithing needle: If the opponent choose to it resolve, then choose their unused fetchland. Always fun. This hits planeswalkers, DRS, thespian’s stage, charbelcher, painter’s servant, wasteland, equipments, … so yes I mainboard it. It’s to versatile not to include.
- Scroll rack: when played seems innocent. When you use it once for 1 mana and you exchange all the cards in your hand for others, then you see the power. Helps to put terminus on top. Sac it to thopter foundry if you don’t need it anymore.
- Ethersworn canonist: Aha, a creature. Storm players hate her. Elf players need to find an answer (reclamation sage) or they slow down. I’ve won several games with her and a jitte equipped. Really powerful effect.
- 2 Humility: the crown of the deck. I’ll name 15 advantages of the card in this deck:
- Pumps germ and makes batterskull the strongest creature on the field
- Makes jitte a 1 shot killing machine
- Creatures of opponent are equal in P/T than my thopters
- Abilities of creatures can’t be activated
- ETB abilities don’t work anymore
- Reclamation sage cries when he sees this
- Abrupt decay proof
- Jace still does his thing
- Leovold, eidolon, DRS, Thought-Knot Seer, Marrit lage, phyrexian revoker, …are humiliated
- Un- targetable creatures can be targeted now
- If played later, overwrites tabernacle’s upkeep cost
- Cheaper then moat and more effective
- Tutorable when necessary
- Fun to put into play versus Show or/and Sneak decks
- When you sac sword of the meek to thopter foundry, you get a 2/3 blocker vs 1/1 creatures.
- Chalice of the void: I side this in versus storm and delver. On 0 for storm, on 1 for delver. Chalice on 1 is a pickle for me too, but I only play it when it hurts my opponent more. Also this is saccable to foundry if it troubles you too much.
- Land tax: put it in the deck versus lands or mana denial. Can filter your deck bigtime. The scroll rack engine combined with land tax draws you 3 cards a turn if necessary.
- Meekstone: eldrazi’s best friend. There’s a nonbo with humility, but then you sac it to foundry. Also fun versus goyf, delver or other bigger creatures. Batterskull doesn’t care because he has vigilance.
- Chill: tutor this turn 1 versus red, play it turn 2. Gives you time to find your lifegaining and overwhelming army of thopters or batterskull.
- Seal of cleansing: tutorable disenchant in time of need. Put it on the field to use when you like. Scares opponents to play something.
- Ethersworn canonist: she aids her mainboard sis whenever there’s a stormy atmosphere.
- Spirit of the labyrinth: my own tutorable leovold with downside. Decks that rely on brainstorm, ponder, jace or storm hate it.
- Rest in peace: my only graveyard hate. Will be in game turn 2, if tutored turn 1. I use it versus all graveyard-matters decks. It stops my thoptersword combo but then I will go full humility, batterskull, Jace for the win.
- Back to basics: look at this beauty. This card hits so many decks. Its nuts. Yes, we do have some non-basic lands so it’s important to fetch for basics when you side this in.
- Ensnaring bridge: After some grinding my hand is normally empty, so no attacks from the opponent. When I draw a card creatures with power 1 can attack. Now look at my thopters and smile. Play my card and pass. This is also a good Show and tell target.
- Vedalken shackles: Pure fun. Take their creature in response to declare attack step and block with them. If they play something better, take that.
- Nevermore: I use it on cards that bug me: fiery confluence, kolaghan’s command, tendrils, LED, Ulamog, reclamation sage, cursed totem…
- 3 Flusterstorm: all sided in vs storm decks after playing the matchup for the 100th time
So this deck has 3 wincons
3) Jace ultimate
and adjusts to the deck your opponent is playing. It takes some time to pilot it well but is fun as hell.
Choose your destiny!
One final note for the naysayers.
This isn’t supposed to be a competitive deck but it’s made to offer some kind of defense versus a few T1 decks.
This can’t do a thing vs turn 1 decks.
It has some difficult matchups but also some favorable.
If people are curious about the matchups. I’ve kept a record to see what decks can or can’t be beaten.